NEWPORT County AFC will be treating tomorrow evening's Carabao Cup clash with Newcastle Utd as a "free hit" according to goalkeeper Nick Townsend.

The stopper spoke of how the experiences from the last few seasons' cup runs meant that his side would be treating the fourth round tie as a normal game.

"We’ve got no fear when we go into games like this," he said.

"It’s a free hit.

"The start of this season has been unreal.

"Hopefully we can carry on this run of form throughout the season."

Central to Townsend's hopes of continued good form is the newfound depth in County's squad.

A core of experience has been complemented by new additions who, according to the keeper, are all pulling in the same direction already.

"Everyone that’s been brought in still has that same logic," he said.

"We’re all pulling in the same direction.

"We want to try and make Rodney (Parade) like a fortress and I feel like, this season, we’re heading that way.

"Whoever’s on the bench is always ready to go.

"Whoever is starting, it’s their shirt but it’s theirs to lose at the same time.

"Our team is the strongest in a while.

"It’s the good thing about the club now, we’ve got strength in all areas.

"It does keep everyone on their toes. It’s a good atmosphere to be in."


Townsend said that he believes that this season's squad is the strongest he’s been involved with in terms of depth.

"With a lot of players, like Matty (Dolan) playing in defence, it proves that players can do a job wherever which is what we need," he said.

Even the normally predictable position of goalkeeper is not so this season at Newport County, with Tom King pushing Townsend hard for a regular place between the sticks.

"Me and Kingy (Tom King) have a challenge going between us two.

"There’s not a lot in it. I’ve kept him on his toes and he’s kept me on mine.

"He’s been in the Wales squad and when he’s come into games he’s done a job.

"The strength and depth of our squad is massive.

"It just shows how strong we are."

Tomorrow night's game is a far cry from facing Bolton at the weekend, with Townsend having to content with the likes of multi-million-pound strikers such as Joelinton and Callum Wilson

Newcastle put seven past Morecambe in the last round, showing that, at the very least, their strikeforce is full of confidence.

"I was at Barnsley for a few years and we played them (Newcastle) before they went up," he said.

"It will be exciting. It’ll be a chance for the lads to show what they can do.

"Being on TV, it’s a chance to show what we can do as a team. Being at Rodney is good too as we’ve caused loads of upsets over the years.

"Hopefully we can carry it on."

However, he did concede that not having the Amber Army in the stands to roar the side on was something which would be missed by the side.

"The adrenaline is lost a bit when you get to 60 minutes and you want the fans to be that 12th man, that extra boost which can feel missed sometimes," he said.

"It’s a bit weird.

"At the same time, we know our jobs.

"We know what we need to do."

Newport County AFC face Newcastle at Rodney Parade tomorrow night. Kick-off 5.30pm.